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Ravn Hamberg
(swampbuggy) - F
Compression socks for hiking?? on 01/26/2011 14:49:14 MST Print View

Hi

Is any of the fastpackers/long distance hikers using compression socks? Runners are using them all the time. But do they work for hiking? Im planning a long hike with a lot of 30-40 miles days, and was wondering if i would benefit from wearing compression around the calfs. My guess is i would, but has anybody tried it?

Ben Smith
(goosefeet) - MLife

Locale: Georgia
Re: Compression socks for hiking?? on 01/26/2011 14:53:27 MST Print View

I am not really in those categories, but I do use compression socks and feel that they really cut down on leg fatigue after a long day of up and down.

I use the CEP Trekking compression socks.

Ben Smith
(goosefeet) - MLife

Locale: Georgia
Re: Compression socks for hiking?? on 01/26/2011 14:56:29 MST Print View

Sorry, double post...

Edited by goosefeet on 01/26/2011 14:56:59 MST.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
"Compression socks for hiking" on 01/26/2011 16:23:47 MST Print View

During a one-week trip in last year I wore my cw-x pro tights for a particularly demanding day that included bagging 3 14'ers. I liked the extra muscular support and felt they helped my recovery for the following hiking days.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 01/26/2011 16:56:22 MST Print View

I used some compression socks - Swiftwick Merino Four.

I did 21 nights, 210 miles, wore them while I was sleeping also.

Never had any problems with them, but I don't really need compression socks, so I quit using them. Slightly prefer non-compression socks.

Why do you need compression socks?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Compression socks for hiking?? on 01/26/2011 18:14:05 MST Print View

Forgive me if I go into rant mode, but I make no apologies.

These are basically an extremely stupid marketing gimmick which is medically BAD. Your whole body, and especially your muscles, depend on the circulation of blood through arteries and veins and plasma/lymph through the secondary circulation system. Compression clothing will restrict this blood and lymph flow. Your extremities will suffer from decreased supply of ATP and slower removal of lactic acid. How utterly stupid!

I tried some longs once (field trial). I got cold legs in the middle of the night due to the restricted blood flow. I got rid of them in the middle of the night and slept warm for the rest of the night.

I also inadvertently did something similar with a restrictive watch band in the snow. My hand started to freeze. I had to take the watch off and stick it in my pocket. My hand recovered.

So why do some people wear them? Two reasons. One - because they get them for free and are told others are wearing them. Two - because they are paid to endorse them.

Cheers

Edit:
An article referenced in a subsequent post noted that most research has focused on the use of compression clothing on unhealthy people - those with vein problems etc. Fair enough, but completely irrelevant to fit healthy walkers.

As for the manufacturers' claims ... 'they would say that, wouldn't they?'

Edited by rcaffin on 01/27/2011 14:41:26 MST.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Compression socks for hiking?? on 01/26/2011 18:39:04 MST Print View

"These are basically an extremely stupid marketing gimmick which is medically BAD. Your whole body, and especially your muscles, depend on the circulation of blood through arteries and veins and plasma/lymph through the secondary circulation system. Compression clothing will restrict this blood and lymph flow. Your extremities will suffer from decreased supply of ATP and slower removal of lactic acid."

It actually doesn't look like that is true, Roger. However, it doesn't seem like they would be that useful for hiking, unless you were mostly wearing them on a rest/recovery day following a hard hiking day. I don't think I would sleep in them, which may have led to the problems you had. Also, I wouldn't be inclined to wear them in the cold, where restriction might cause some serious problems. For what it's worth, I am a runner but have never worn compression socks.


This blog seems to have a decent synopsis of where the science is on compression socks for running:

http://www.scienceofrunning.com/2010/07/compression-socks.html

Also, Joe Friel's blog:

http://www2.trainingbible.com/joesblog/2007/10/can-your-socks-make-you-faster.html

Edit: I forgot a word

Edited by saparisor on 01/26/2011 18:42:58 MST.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
"Compression socks for hiking" on 01/26/2011 18:41:09 MST Print View

Well, my experience with them differs. Perhaps, the jury's still out on their effects.

This article suggests the jury is still out and notes some research that found benefits from their use.
http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/The-Physiology-Behind-Compression-Clothes.htm

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 01/26/2011 20:41:10 MST Print View

Like I said, I wore them at night. It got down to 28F. I didn't notice being cold.

But then I didn't do any controlled tests or anything.

Thanks for those links - I see what the intended purpose is - better blood flow and better recovery. I was just doing leisurely backpacking so I probably wouldn't have noticed anything.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: "Compression socks for hiking" on 01/26/2011 20:43:44 MST Print View

Betting it's more hype in healthy persons, though the muscle vibration hypothesis is interesting. Also bet the pressure of the clothing in athletes is not the same as those used for treatment of disease. It's clear (to me) that nothing has been proven, so use them at your own monetary risk.

Ravn Hamberg
(swampbuggy) - F
Thanks for the posts. on 01/26/2011 23:33:04 MST Print View

I think it looks like there may be some benefit in recovery from wearing them. But how much, and are they worth the extra weight, is very hard to say. I think i will get a pair and do some testing myself, and see if i like them.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Compression Clothing on 01/27/2011 10:25:02 MST Print View

I've been studying, and testing compression clothing (socks and leggings) for the past several months. Here are my empirical observations.

1. You must differentiate what you feel from what you observe, and try to be rational.

2. They don't seem to offer any benefit for most of my hiking.

3. Wearing compression leggings increases the number of repetitions to failure when I'm doing unweighted squats. They don't impact the number of weighted squats I can do. I think this is because they offer the most benefit for high-repetition low-resistance exercise.

4. Wearing compression leggings increases the distance I can travel in a day because I don't seem to need to rest as much and my legs fatigue less. However, we're talking about extremely long days: 16+ hours of trekking, with significant hill climbing, and a very light pack.

4. Wearing compression socks at night seems to make my feet ache noticeably less in the morning. However, I've only observed this effect on days when I have hiked more than 20 miles over mountainous terrain.

These are empirical observations. I'm interested in exploring compression clothing more - but only at the very limits of what I can do. I generally think they're not so helpful for routine trekking.

I think you'll do better to increase your performance by paying attention to insulin stability over the course of a trekking day, which is my current research project, and one that's far less contaminated by manufacturer claims and sleek designs in tights :)

Edited by ryan on 01/27/2011 10:26:17 MST.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
Re: Compression Clothing on 01/27/2011 11:46:14 MST Print View

That pretty much parallels my experience. Benefits on long, difficult days with lots of altitude gained and lost. Regular hiking, not so much.

Jessica Ruiz
(jessie85) - F
Re: Compression socks for hiking?? on 10/01/2011 06:47:57 MDT Print View

Yes, compression benefits hikers as well. With the discovery of the additional benefits of compression socks and stockings today, many manufacturers of compression garments design stockings and socks not only for those suffering in medical conditions such varicose vein, thrombosis, and other vein problems, but also for athletes and active people who leisurely engage to sport activities.

The days of wearing just ordinary sport socks to protect feet during activities from injury are over. Compression socks today are designed not only to protect feet but also to help increase blood flow in the lower legs to increase performance. The compression provided by the compression socks help you feet feel less sore and tired from a day of hiking or any sport activity. They improve the endurance and performance of athletes by providing the adequate compression.

DELETED Spam

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Jessica
This is your first post here and you are spamming. That is not tolerated.

Most of what you have written flies in the face of medical facts. Compression does NOT and can NOT boost blood circulation: it is a form of mild tourniquet and that always reduces blood and lymph flow. To suggest otherwise is simply blatant marketing spin and deliberate deception.

If you have slightly injured your muscles such that they have started to swell up, then compression does have some value as a therapy. It is part of the RICE regime: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Think of a swollen ankle after a sprain for instance.

Yes, I have tried wearing compression clothing. I wore some tights while sleeping one night. My legs started to freeze. I removed the tights and could feel the warmth flow back into my legs as the blood flow picked up.

Further spamming will get you banned.

Roger Caffin
Online Community Monitor
Backpacking Light

Edited by rcaffin on 10/01/2011 15:07:47 MDT.

Ryan Krause
(rmkrause)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
compression on 10/02/2011 18:58:17 MDT Print View

I have a pair of Smartwool compression socks that I use for recovery and the amount of compression is low enough that they are fine to sleep in. I've started/stopped "barefoot" running a number of times over the last few years and each time starting up again I would get severe calf DOMS that would in some cases last days. Using the socks however, takes care of the issue. I have been through numerous cycles of start/stop with and without using the socks and the effect is real for me. I've gotten to the point if I barefoot run I'll wear the socks for the evening/night afterwards. Hiking/backpacking on the other hand, I've never thought that I would find them useful.